As you are aware, we have our public hearing on the FY18 budget scheduled for tomorrow evening. As we continue to work with our member towns to navigate these challenging financial times, I wanted to provide this presentation that was shared with the School Committee on February 15th. Since that time, it has been repeated with our town and state officials via our District Communications Committee on February 16th, and then again last night directly with the Rowley Board of Selectmen at their invitation.
The purpose of the presentation is to answer the question being repeatedly asked; “Why does educating a population that has decreased over time continue to cost more each year?” It is a valid question that we need to all understand the answer to. Like many rural communities, Triton has seen positive trends with less students electing to Choice their children to other districts, but we still see decreasing enrollments year after year. This trend is more common in communities like ours as families are tending to ‘age in place’ within our towns rather than selling their homes to younger families with school aged children. This is not a phenomenon unique to Triton, but it is a factor that has a significant impact on our district, so it is one we must understand. Enrollment combined with the failure of the state’s funding formula (Chapter 70) to reflect accurate spending levels has placed an incredible burden on our member communities; a burden that is quickly reaching a crisis point.
Below are the presentation slides in PDF format for review. For those wanting a more detailed explanation and presentation, you can watch the full video of the presentation I made to the School Committee in the On Demand UStream section on our website at the link below.
If you have any questions or comments on the process to date, I would be happy to speak with you further. You will also find the Tentative Budget as approved on the next tab over from the presentation at the link above.